Thursday, September 29, 2005

Right [Roberts confirmation] and Wrong [Blunt new Leader ]

As the trial lawyers say, if you are not losing some cases, you are not trying cases. For pundits, if you not missing some predictions, you are not making predictions.

First, a pat on my back. More than two months ago, I wrote [see here]:

Most likely scenario? No filibuster, Judge Roberts is confirmed with 70 plus and maybe 80 plus votes. Unlike Bork, Judge Roberts would be very difficult for the hard line, far left Democrats to morph into a back alley abortionist...

This morning, Judge John Roberts was confirmed as the youngest Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in more than 200 years by a 78-22 Senate margin. [See here].Take the median of 70 plus and 80 plus and you come pretty close to 78 votes. Score one for “Public Affairs.”

I wrote on July 20:

The betting is that a guy who holds a Harvard college and Harvard Law School degree, clerked for the very well respected 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Friendly and U. S. Supreme Court Justice Rehnquist, was Associate Counsel to President Reagan and the principal Deputy Solicitor General under President George Herbert Walker Bush, was approved pretty easily to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, i.e., by unanimous consent, doesn’t have an extensive paper trail and is viewed as more like the gentleman Rehnquist than the sarcastic, hot-tongued Scalia can withstand the Nan Arons and Chuck Schumers of the World.

On the money again. Resumes aren’t everything, but they do count. And, a guy who won 25 of 39 Supreme Court oral arguments can probably prevail over Senators Schumer, Kennedy, Biden, Durbin and Feinstein [Oh my, what an embarrassing performance by Diane. The feminist groups must have cringed. Only 13 women in the U. S. Senate, but couldn’t they find a woman who went to law school and who was conversant in the law to put on the Judiciary Committee?] Where is Emily's List when we need it?.

Now, I fall on my sword. Yesterday, I wrote:

Majority Leader Tom DeLay [R-TX] has been indicted on one count of criminal conspiracy and will step down [See here] with Cong. David Dreier [R-San Dimas, CA] expected to replace him.

Oops, got that wrong. It was right in the sense that the Speaker expected he could put Dreier there, and he tried to. However, sometimess [to the chagrin of economists at the University of Chicago] even rational expectations are disappointed. The new Majority Leader is Roy Blunt [R-MO] [See here]. Yes, Cong. Dreier apparently was both Speaker Hastert’s and Cong. DeLay’s choice, but not the choice of certain influential Republican House members who found Dreier too moderate and who would have led a revolt. Hastert could have fought. But, the old high school wrestling coach didn’t get to be Speaker by wrestling his way there, and he is not about to start now.

And I also wrote:

Long run, Dreier [Chairman, House Rules Committee] in for DeLay could be just what the doctor ordered.

I’ll stick with that prediction, but we may never know if I got that right.

And, I wrote:

Tom DeLay’s role in Leadership, RIP.

I’ll stick with that one. They don’t call this guy “The Comeback Kid.” That's Mr. Bill. They call Tom DeLay “The Hammer.” And, for now, the hammer has been taken out of "DeLay's," hand.

Delay may beat the Travis County indictment. It may be bogus as a three dollar bill. [See here]. He may stay a congressman. He may have influence. But, Speaker DeLay? Majority Leader DeLay? Whip DeLay? I don’t think so.

The times are a changing. And, they dictate a much different public face for the Republican Party than that of the Hammer. If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning, I’d hammer in the evening. All over this land. But, I wouldn’t make the Hammer the public face of the national Republican Party. For that you want an articulate, thoughtful, telegenic conservative. Not a Hammer.

Dreier may not have been the right congressperson for the job. But’s it not DeLay and it’s not Blunt. So, the Speaker and Friends had best do a search. They need a new Public Face and they need it soon.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at